July 22 review: True to the tragedy, no one really wins in the face of terror attacks

On July 22, 2011, a far-right extremist detonated a car bomb in Oslo and then launched a mass shooting at a youth leadership training camp, killing 77 people and shocking the world with what the media dubbed the “Yutte tragedy. The film “22 July” tells the story of this horrific terrorist attack.

The film was directed and shot by the famous director Paul Greengrass, who had previously made several classic films, including “Captain Phillips” starring Tom Hanks and “Spy Kids 3” starring Matt Damon. For the director, “July 22” is a very realistic film, with a real-life backdrop of events, which makes the power and meaning behind the film even more unique.

The film adopts a multi-line narrative, with the psychological thread of the terrorist, the perpetrator, forming one of the threads driving the story, and the confrontation and healing process of the victims and their families forming another important thread underlining the inner emotions of the story.

For the director, the emotions of the victims’ family are only a microcosm of the wounds of a country. The story uses specific and subtle people and events to reflect the trauma and suffering of the whole country in the face of terrorism, and the two main threads are switched and compared in a montage technique, making the emotions of the whole film move between shock and sympathy.

In contrast to the documentary style of filming, director Paul Greengrass uses a combination of drama and realism, bringing his usual expertise in handheld photography and rapid editing to the forefront. The film’s images are calm, restrained and depressing, and the relationship between the characters and the story is more realistic and three-dimensional when the camera shakes, so that when disaster strikes and descends, the audience can be quickly brought into the director’s pre-determined atmosphere, coupled with the switching of camera angles and fast-edited images, making the bloody scenes of shooting seem chilling.

In the whole film, the director did not choose to hide and avoid the slightest, but used the camera to show the process of violence nakedly in front of the audience, calm and cold, and behind the cold and pain, only to reveal the real reality worthy of people’s consideration, as a community of human interests, how to properly deal with extreme people and ideas, to maintain a balanced state in the handling of the people to minimize the harm suffered.

The restraint and reflection behind the director’s realistic story is what the film ultimately needs to explore. At the end of the film, the perpetrators of the horror are sanctioned by the law, but the eternal pain remains deep in the souls of the country and the victims, so this is a war that ultimately has no winners or losers.